By MARGARET STAFFORD
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Fans lined up Wednesday to get a prime spot in downtown Kansas City as the city celebrates the Kansas City Chiefs’ second Super Bowl championship in four NFL seasons.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes were riding in double-decker buses, joined by teammates, family and Chiefs officials, in front of fans standing up to 10 people deep as the parade rolled down a main downtown street on the way to a rally at Union Station.
Chiefs owner Clark Hunt stood in one of the buses holding the Lombardi Trophy, denoting the Chiefs 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Sunday. He later handed it off to players, who passed it around.
Most schools, many businesses and some government offices in the Kansas City metro area were closed to allow fans to enjoy the festivities.
Fans were generally happy and in good spirits while waiting in long lines for food trucks, merchandise trucks and, of course, portable toilets. Some people slept overnight to get prime spots across from Union Station.
But Shellie Diehl, 46, of Kansas City, was seated along a street about a block from Union Station as the crowd became more congested in front of the rally site. She was joined by her 8-year-old daughter, Skyler; 16-year-old daughter, Taylor; and a friend.
Diehl said she came to the Chiefs parade in 2020 and decided to have mother-daughter time while celebrating Skyler’s first parade.
“The last one was so much fun, we decided we had to come to this one,” Diehl said. “We’re big Chiefs fans, and we wanted to celebrate a great day with the community.”
After decades of championship drought, the city is gaining experience with victory parades. Four seasons ago, the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers for the team’s first Super Bowl championship in 50 years. That followed the Kansas City Royals winning the World Series in 2015, the city’s first baseball championship in 30 years.
Some fans admitted that Kansas City might be getting a little spoiled.
“Kind of getting used to it, but that’s OK,” said Liz Barber, 50, of Shawnee, Kansas. “It is good.”
David Cordray, 38, from Kansas City, said “We had a 50-year-drought, so it’s about time we had our own dynasty.”
A group of about 25 Chiefs fans from Kansas City who arrived about 6 a.m. cooked up a breakfast feast, complete with corn on the cob, bacon and potatoes and all the trimmings — and they had steaks ready for later in the day.
Dominic Zamora, 18, of Kansas City, said the friends arrived about 6 a.m. to set up their tailgate, continuing a tradition whenever he and his friends attend Chiefs games. He said he expects to return for more parades in the coming years.
“With Mahomes, there’s more to come,” Zamora said. “It’s going to be fun, and I’m excited to show up.”
Manuel Palacio, 48, of Kansas City, was dressed in a cow’s suit in a tribute to Kansas City’s “Cowtown” nickname.
He said he was a longtime Buffalo Bills fan who converted to the Chiefs in about 1993 after losing a bet with a Chiefs fan.
“I had to convert,” Palacio said. “It’s like being an Oakland Raiders fan; at some point you have to cheer for the team who keeps winning,” he said, laughing.
Palacio said he and his extended family spend the season watching the Chiefs games at home and decided “when — not if — we win the Super Bowl, we’re going to go down there and have some fun, celebrate together.”
Officials began planning the parade weeks before the Chiefs defeated the Eagles on a field goal with 8 seconds remaining in the game.
Kansas City police said about 675 law enforcement officers from more than 20 agencies, along with fire departments and transportation leaders, were fanned out along the route for the anticipated crowd.
The City Council Transportation and Infrastructure Committee agreed to earmark $750,000 for parade-related expenses, and Mayor Quinton Lucas estimated overtime costs for police and firefighters would total more than $1.5 million.
The the Kansas City Sports Commission is expected to contribute another $1 million in private donations, and the Jackson County Legislature voted to add $75,000.
Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City contributed to this story.
This story has been updated to correct that it’s Kansas City’s second championship in four seasons, not in two years.
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